Paul Krugman: Voodoo Never Dies (NY Times)
The tax cuts favored by every Republican candidate just happen to be exactly what rich donors want.
Marina Hyde: "Planet Bieber update: Justin debunks the big bang theory" (The Guardian)
The star's view on the origins of the universe is certainly the most earthshaking revelation in his most recent interview - but Jesus and the reality of life behind bars aren't far from his thoughts either.
Back to the Future's parents were way ahead of their time (The Guardian)
Eighties film fan Hadley Freeman on BTTF's message about rebellion, love and ambition down the ages for young and old.
Hannah Verdier: "Can Porn Be Ethical? review - a refreshing debate with no groaning sound effects"(The Guardian)
Can fruit salads on set and buck's fizz and salmon for breakfast make up for gruelling 12-hour shoots?
Alison Flood: Cornelia Funke joins self-publishing revolution (The Guardian)
German author will self-publish the English version of her latest Mirrorworld novel, The Golden Yarn, after refusing changes suggested by her American publisher.
Patti Smith: 'It's not so easy writing about nothing' (The Guardian)
In this extract from punk poet Patti Smith's memoir M Train, a letter arrives leading to a bizarre speaking engagement in Berlin - and a night binge-watching Inspector Morse in a Covent Garden hotel…
Mary Beard: why ancient Rome matters to the modern world (The Guardian)
Failure in Iraq, debates about freedom, expenses scandals, sex advice … the Romans seem versions of ourselves. But then there's the slavery and the babies on rubbish heaps. We need to understand ancient Rome, but should we take lessons from it?
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
David Bruce's Smashwords Page
David Bruce's Blog
David Bruce's Lulu Storefront
David Bruce's Apple iBookstore
David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
Zounds! Look at those tusks!
Although it's been buried for thousands of years, the partial skeleton of a woolly mammoth discovered this week in Lima Township shows that the animal probably ended up on a Native American's dinner plate.
"It's too early to tell how it died but the skeleton showed signs of butchering," said Professor Dan Fisher of the Museum of Paleontology at the University of Michigan...
Farmer finds woolly mammoth bones in field near Chelsea, Michigan
(The link has more cool photos and a video of the skull being lifted out of the pit, too...Courtesy of the University of Michigan. Word was the farmer gave the U of M one day to recover what they wanted as he had to harvest his surrounding soybean crop, haha...)
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
Pope Francis Rejects Kim Davis's Account Of Meeting And Refuses To Endorse Her Bigotry
Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled into Meeting Kim Davis?
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and seasonal.
1930 Oscar Sold At Auction
An Oscar statuette awarded to actress Norma Shearer in 1930 sold on Wednesday for $180,000 in a rare sale of an Academy Awards trophy.The Oscar that recognized Shearer's role in "The Divorcee" was put up for auction by her estate. It sold along with the cinematography prize for a 1928 film, "White Shadows in the South Seas," that also fetched $180,000.
Oscars rarely come up for auction because since 1950, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, host of the Academy Awards, has required that winners, their heirs or estates not sell one without first offering it to the Academy for $1. The 88-year-old organization has recently attempted to keep ownership rights to trophies awarded before 1950.
Last year, the estate of actress Joan Fontaine withdrew her Oscar from a much-anticipated auction when the Academy threatened to sue over its sale.And in July, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ruled that the Academy could apply its rule to a 1943 statuette that had been sold at auction, because its winner, art director Joseph Wright, remained an Academy member past 1951.
The Academy did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday's auction, conducted in Hollywood by auctioneer Profiles in History.
We all love a good laugh, and we are willing to pay quite a bit for it. Billboard estimates that stand-up comedy generates approximately $300 million in income per year.
A few standup comedians have broken out of the relative obscurity of the neighborhood comedy club and are now packing concert halls and other huge venues, raking in the cash in the process. Most have other vehicles such as TV shows, televised specials, or movies that help them cash in, but standup tours are where the most money is made.
Kevin Hart - Hart may be small in stature, but he is large on the comedy tour stage. His "What Now?" Tour grossed $35 million in sales by March 2015 before the tour even started. It is assumed that, after its completion in August, Hart's tour will be the highest-grossing tour of all time for an American comedian, thanks to his ability to fill larger venues.
Terry Fator - Who? If you are a fan of America's Got Talent or a frequent visitor to Vegas, you're aware of him. The comedy ventriloquist regularly appears at the Mirage in Las Vegas and works extended tours every year. The sheer volume of his tours brings him to a gross of $24 million according toForbes.
Jeff Dunham - Political correctness has not yet caught up with comedy ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, whose act features such caricatures as Jose Jalapeno (a giant hot pepper on a stick with a sombrero and droopy mustache) and the skeletal Achmed the Dead Terrorist. In 2014, Dunham grossed over $3.7 million during a twelve-show tour alone and his corresponding merchandise sales has him in the neighborhood of $19 million.
Women Are Missing
HIV Drug Trials
Although women make up roughly half of the world's HIV cases, they remain largely excluded from clinical trials testing drugs, vaccines and potential cures for the virus, a research review confirms.
In an analysis spanning several decades that included work done as recently as 2012, researchers found that women typically comprised about 11 percent of participants in trials investigating cures for HIV. Similarly, drug studies were only about 19 percent female and just 38 percent of vaccine trial subjects were women.
"Based on previous studies in other health areas, it wasn't surprising, but perhaps disappointing given that nearly half of those living with HIV are women," lead study author Dr. Mirjam Curno, who did the analysis while working as managing editor of the Journal of the International AIDS Society, said by email.
Research in areas such as heart disease, cancer and depression has also had historically low female participation, as have advanced human trials testing experimental drugs, Curno and colleagues note in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
HIV Drug Trials
Producing Science Fiction Podcast Series
In a sign that what is old is new again, U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co is producing its own science fiction podcast series in an effort to raise its profile among a younger, tech-savvy audience.
GE, in partnership with The Slate Group's podcast network Panoply, is running "The Message," a fictional eight-episode podcast that will follow the decoding of a 70 year-old message from outer space. The cryptologists decoding the message turn to a real ultrasound technology developed by GE to decode the messages.
The idea for the series stemmed from the company's historic "GE Theater" television series, which was hosted by Ronald Reagan, then an actor, in the 1950s.
GE is producing its own podcast series, rather than running ads on other podcasts because it specifically does not want the shows to come off as advertising, but rather as a way to raise brand awareness, Goldberg said. The 40-60 minute spots, which begin Oct. 4, will be advertisement-free and will be available for download for free. Goldberg declined to comment on how much GE is spending on the podcasts.
Wine Train Lawsuit
A group of mostly black women filed a racial discrimination lawsuit Thursday after they were removed from a train that tours Napa Valley wineries, saying it was humiliating to be thrown off a rail car when loud and inebriated white passengers were allowed to stay.
The 11 women sued Napa Valley Wine Train Inc., claiming they were singled out because of race and seeking $11 million in damages. The company said in a statement that it takes allegations of discrimination very seriously and has hired a former FBI agent to investigate.
The women said many of them were part of a book club that meets regularly and had gathered on the train to discuss a romance novel. Before the train left the station in Napa, a train employee asked them to quiet down because they were offending other passengers, they said.
The same employee admonished them a second time before telling them that police officers would be waiting for them when the train reached St. Helena, the suit says. They were escorted through several cars as other passengers stared and then off the train and into a dirt lot where police were waiting, according to the suit.
'Sense Of Regret'
Pope Francis' meeting last week with an American woman at the center of a row over gay marriage was not something he had sought and should not be seen as an endorsement of her views, the Vatican said on Friday.
One Vatican official said there was "a sense of regret" that the pope had ever seen Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who went to jail in September for refusing to honor a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and issue same-sex marriage licenses.
The encounter in Washington was originally kept secret and has sparked widespread debate since it became public this week, proving something of a misstep for the pontiff.
Looking to smother the fierce controversy, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Davis was one of "several dozen" people who had been invited by the Vatican ambassador to see Francis during his visit to the U.S. capital.
The meeting with Davis disappointed many liberal Catholics but delighted conservatives, who saw it as a sign that the pope was clearly condemning a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage.
Linked To Heart Disease Risk
People with long-term exposure to loud noise at work or in leisure activities may be at increased risk of heart disease, a U.S. study finds.
Researchers found the strongest link in working-age people with high-frequency hearing loss, which is typically the result of chronic noise exposure.
"Compared with people with normal high-frequency hearing, people with bilateral high-frequency hearing loss were approximately two times more likely to have coronary heart disease," said lead author Dr. Wen Qi Gan of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health in Lexington.
Past research has already linked noise exposure, especially in workplaces, to coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and other illnesses, Gan and his colleagues write in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. But many of these studies lacked individual information about actual noise exposure, relying instead on average decibel levels in the person's environment.
High-frequency hearing loss, the researchers say, is a better indicator of exposure to loud noise over time.
Poised To Clash
Catholic bishops are congregating in Rome for three weeks of debate on the family that could radically reshape the Church's approach to the divisive issues of divorce and homosexuality.
A second and final round of a review of Church teaching on a broad spectrum of questions related to family life opens on Sunday -- and Vatican officials are being unusually frank in admitting that clashes are inevitable.
Although battlelines are not always clearcut, the most important division is between reformers who want to make the Church more accommodating towards gay, divorced or cohabiting believers, and those opposed to any dilution of centuries-old doctrine which holds that marriage is for life, full stop, and that homosexuality is sinful or an abomination.
Pope Francis has made it clear he favours a fresh approach and his status as the infallible Vicar of Christ means he can ultimately decide what he likes.
At the heart of the synod's agenda is Francis' belief, articulated by the German cardinal and theologian Walter Kasper, that the Church must address the present gulf between what it currently says about marriage, love and sex and what tens of millions of its followers actually do every day.
Bye Bye Google
After U.S. markets closed on Friday, Alphabet replaced Google as the publicly traded company that will house Google's search and Web advertising businesses, maps, YouTube and its "moonshot" ventures such as driverless cars.
Google's class A shares and class C shares will automatically convert into the same number of Alphabet class A shares and class C shares and start trading on the Nasdaq from Monday. The ticker symbols will not change.
The structural overhaul, announced in August, is intended to separate the company's core businesses from ventures such as the driverless cars, glucose-monitoring contact lenses and Internet-connected high-altitude balloons.
Google's Sidewalk Labs, a company dedicated to coming up with technologies to improve urban city infrastructure such as a free WiFi program, will also be a part of the Alphabet business.
The core businesses will be called Google and operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Sunday Pica will head Google.
Brian Friel distrusted the reliability of mere facts. Ireland's greatest playwright of his generation, who died Friday at the age of 86, spent much of his life trying to convey the deeper truths of our existence - of a world filled with compelling fictions constructed by people, families and whole nations.
Friel's fictional County Donegal universe of Ballybeg - whose name, in Ireland's native tongue of Gaelic, means "little town" - provided the setting for most of his two dozen plays over five decades in which he sought to explore what he once called "the dark and private places of individual souls."
In each work, he created worlds of meaning set in distinctive eras: of the imminent 1960s emigrant hoping to leave behind dashed dreams in "Philadelphia, Here I Come!"; of the mutual incomprehension and growing enmity in the 1830s between Gaelic Ireland and imperialist England in "Translations"; and of the claustrophobic power of 1930s rural Catholic Ireland in "Dancing at Lughnasa."
"Lughnasa" earned Friel his greatest accolades, including a trio of Tony Awards in 1992. But on those rare occasions when Friel permitted himself to be interviewed, he gently mocked the whole notion of success for a writer. He insisted that, while interviewers could ask questions, even the easiest ones had no definite answers. He often said that an invented or conflated memory could convey a greater sense of truth than a faithfully recorded snippet of reality.
Born in 1929 in Northern Ireland, then a Protestant-dominated corner of the United Kingdom, Friel grew up in a firmly Irish nationalist and Catholic community that offered publicly expressed certainty on matters of morality and identity. He studied for the priesthood, left the seminary to become a schoolteacher for a decade, but found his faith on the stage.
He became a fulltime dramatist after spending his first lengthy time in America while observing the 1963 launch of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He settled with his wife and five children virtually on the Irish border in the northwest Republic of Ireland county of Donegal. From that remote perch, he sought to challenge prevailing Irish attitudes on faith, politics, culture - often by employing unreliable narrators, multiple perspectives and ambiguous outcomes.
Besides his own work, Friel adapted to Irish themes and settings several classic Russian works by Anton Chekhov and Ivan Turgenev. He said playwrights always had to worry about being misunderstood or misinterpreted.
Inspired by his Minnesota experience of seeing the dramatic arts thrive in a smaller setting, Friel in 1980 collaborated with actor Stephen Rea to found Ireland's Field Day Theatre Company committed to bringing productions to small towns across the island. Its inaugural work, "Translations," proved its greatest stage triumph, and Field Day inspired a parallel literary project involving future Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney.
Friel didn't travel to New York to collect his Tonys for "Dancing at Lughnasa," a semiautobiographical tale told, via the memories of an adult man, of a boyhood summer in 1936 in the company of five unmarried aunts in Ballybeg. Friel preferred the solitude of Donegal with its barren hills, wind-swept beaches and chances to fish, smoke and drink with a close circle of creative soul mates.
Funeral arrangements were not announced. Friel is survived by his wife, Anne Morrison, three daughters and a son.